Mental Health is continuing to get more and more attention and focus which is brilliant, however, it’s still not something…
Mental Health is continuing to get more and more attention and focus which is brilliant, however, it’s still not something that is easy to talk about for so many of us.
The past 2 weeks, I’ve been signed off work with stress and anxiety. I can count on 1 hand the number of people I’ve felt comfortable enough to share this with. This is ruling out my entire family and a good number of my close friends too.
Why don’t you feel comfortable telling those people, some may ask? Well, there are a few reasons:
– Number 1: the fear of judgment. You don’t know how people are going to react, there’s bound to be that 1 person who will come back with ‘well you look and seem fine’ Yes Susan, I may well look and seem fine to you, because I put on a front to try and get on with day to day life. Mental Health issues aren’t always visible, remember that.
– Number 2: the questions. If you tell people you’re signed off work, understandably they will ask you if you are ok, can they help, what’s the matter etc. Now, all of these questions are really kind things to ask, but as an anxiety sufferer, it’s often incredibly hard to talk about it without getting emotional. I’d rather not go into any level of detail as I find it uncomfortable (other than with a select few close friends)
– Number 3: those who just don’t get it. Many people will go through life perfectly happy and unaffected by mental health-related issues, and good for them! However, it’s often those who simply don’t get it who can end up causing the most damage in these sorts of situations. ‘Just don’t stress about work, it’s only a job’ ‘Why can’t you work, that just seems silly’ ‘Just stop worrying about everything!’ These comments just aren’t helpful in any way shape or form. If you’re dealing with someone who suffers with anxiety or depression try and remember SENSITIVITY is key.
Now, back to why I was signed off in the first place. It was a Friday morning, about 7:30am. I had read an email the night before that just churned my stomach, I’d forwarded it to my boss with the words ‘I honestly give up’ included within the email. That’s how I felt, I couldn’t do it anymore, it’s too much, too much negativity, too much pressure, too much stress. I looked in the mirror at myself that morning getting ready and I looked SO thin, borderline unhealthy. When my anxiety is bad my weight often gets a battering.
The breathing difficulties then started up again (also known as panic/anxiety attacks) the chest pains I’d been experiencing that week came back on with full force again. Ryan got up and I was just sat crying my eyes out on the sofa. I couldn’t face the thought of another tough day at work, it had all just gotten too much and to the point where I was having a full-blown anxiety attack at 7:30 in the morning. Time to call the GP.
I had a long and helpful talk with my GP that morning, uncomfortable as it was. He signed me off work and referred me to some helpful resources with regards to tackling the anxiety and worry which I am now pursuing. Am I scared to go back to work? Absolutely. I’m worried about what it’s going to be like, how I’m going to be treated, how many people know why I was signed off, will they feel annoyed at me. The list is endless. However, I’m going to put on a brave face, try and not let myself spiral back to where I was 2 weeks ago, and hopefully find a way of moving forwards without my mental health getting a battering in the process..